Glenn Maxwell produced another explosive innings to carry Hampshire to victory in their t20 south group clash against Essex at Chelmsford.
The 23-year-old Australian smashed an unbeaten 60 from only 24 balls as the visitors overhauled their opponents’ total of 176 for four, with six wickets and 12 balls to spare.
That kept the Royals on course for the quarter-finals as they continue their recovery from a disappointing start in the competition.
Thirty of Maxwell’s runs came in one over against left-arm spinner Tim Phillips, the 17th of the innings.
The Aussie smashed him for three sixes, all of which went out of the ground, and he was to win the match with his fourth, a mighty blow over mid-wicket against Graham Napier.
Keeping him company during the blitz which also included six fours, was Simon Katich.
He stroked the ball around in a more orthodox manner while scoring 42 from 38 balls and taking part in an unbroken stand of 83 in six overs.
Maxwell’s explosion of shots came a few days after he struck a match-winning 66 from 32 balls in the victory over Kent and leaves Hampshire well on course for a place in the quarter-finals.
Essex had looked set for a much bigger total as openers James Franklin and Mark Pettini tucked into their attack with a series of aggressive strokes.
They scored at around 10 an over during an opening stand of 83, one which was brought to an end when slow left-armer Liam Dawson had Pettini caught in the deep for 38.
James Foster predictably added momentum late on with a quick-fire unbeaten 30 from only 14 balls, striking two sixes in the final over of the innings sent down by Maxwell.
But as later events were to prove, Maxwell was to have the final word of the evening to give Hampshire a boost going into today’s Surrey clash.
n Luckless batsman Michael Carberry has been sidelined for a minimum of five weeks.
The left-hander sustained a knee injury during training on Wednesday.
He underwent a scan yesterday and will now have surgery to remove torn cartilage from his right knee.
Carberry’s recovery time is estimated to be between five and seven weeks.